OREM, Utah -- With former Nets center Nenad Krstic bolting Russia and returning to the NBA with the Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA executives gathered here this week for the annual D-League Showcase have their radar up on others who could follow.
No G.M. should get his hopes up about Carlos Delfino returning to the States this season, according to two people with knowledge of the situation. But the other former NBAer playing in Russia, Jannero Pargo, is a good bet to return to the NBA for the right situation, the people said.
The sources -- one of them a top international scout and the other a person directly involved in NBA front-office dealings -- said Delfino is integral to Khimki BC's plans and loyal to its coach. Essentially, Delfino is committed to the team for the rest of the season and will re-evaluate his options afterward.
Rumblings about rampant interest in Pargo -- such as, for example, from the Lakers -- have been exaggerated, the second source said. But the Knicks -- coached by Mike D'Antoni with a style suitable to Pargo's skills -- are "quite possible" as a landing spot, the person said. Pargo, playing on a one-year deal for Dynamo Moscow, is friendly with Knicks point guard Chris Duhon, and they're both from Slidell, La.
The issue in Russia is that the sagging international economy has caused many teams to pay players late or not at all. The problem with Pargo finding a home back in the NBA is that the veteran's miniumum would be a pay cut. There have been various reports about what Pargo's deal is worth, but one of the sources knowledgeable about his situation said it was $3 million.
If, as expected, the Knicks get a $4.5 million disabled player exception for Cuttino Mobley, they may be inclined to use it for Pargo. They don't have to pay him the entire amount. But whatever they don't pay, they would forefeit because it can't be split among players. Given that the Knicks still have their $1.9 million biannual exception, using the Mobley exception would be better for them because they could save the biannual for next summer.